Meaningful Parenting

What you should know about parenting styles

“As long as I love my kids and keep their best interests at heart, there is no right or wrong way to parent.”

– Anonymous

As parents, we all want to do right by our children. We want to give them a memorable childhood. We want to teach them all the skills they need to grow into well-rounded, well-adjusted adults. And we want to help them become the best version of themselves. But is there a particular way to do that — a particular parenting style that ticks all the boxes? No, there isn’t it — all parenting styles are equally as important. Here’s why…

The importance of different parenting styles

Parents have different parenting styles. One parent may lean toward being the disciplinarian, and the other toward being more lenient. At the end of the day, a child needs both poles of the magnet (discipline and leniency) to be able to deal with all types of life situations. If both parents were to be lenient, the child may grow up to be self-righteous, expecting everything to go his/her way. If both parents were to be strict and controlling, the child may grow to be very rebellious. There is no one “right” way to parent children as they require ALL parenting styles to grow into responsible, grounded adults. And this is why it is important for partners to appreciate the way in which the other approaches parenting. Trying to change your partner’s parenting style — instead of seeing how it is benefitting the child — will only lead to conflict.

How do we choose our parenting style?

The way we end up parenting our children is influenced by the way we were parented by our parents. If we agreed with the parenting style adopted by our parents, we would parent our kids the same way. But, if we disagreed with it, we would want to parent our kids differently. The values that we have when it comes to parenting also dictate how we parent our kids. For example, if raising children to be independent and self-reliant is of high priority and value to you, you would adopt a parenting style that helps achieve that.

Here are two brilliant Handbooks for Co-parenting & Parenting Plans

Parenting in working/healthy relationships

In working/healthy relationships, both parents will take turns: where one parent is strict, the other will play out the opposite role of being more lenient. The roles will constantly shift between parents. If both parents are soft on the child, the child will become more co-dependent and less self-reliant. When that happens, the child will often become the target of a bully, be it at school or home. In the absence of toughness given by parents, someone else in the child’s life will play out that role because the universe strives to bring balance into our lives.

Shifting dynamics in families

Picture this little scenario: Dad is driving the family car. Mom is sitting in the passenger seat. The kids are in the back seat. Dad puts his hand on mum’s leg and says to her, “I just love having my family with me.” Mum squeezes his hand and says, “Me too.” Shortly thereafter, the kids in the back start to fight with each other, prompting Mum to turn around and say, “Stop it, kids.” The kids do not listen. Mum turns around again and says, “Kids! Stop it, right this instant!” The kids still do not listen. Exasperated, mum turns around and slaps the kids on their arms. Dad gets angry and says, “How could you do that! I thought we agreed not to hit the kids! Mum and Dad begin to argue. In the backseat, the kids quieten down and look to each other for support. This scenario demonstrates that dynamics shift all the time. When parents are not in a good space with each other, the children stand together. When the children are not in a good space with each other, parents stand together.

Check out the Family Contribution Calendar to see how you and your partner measure up when it comes to raising your family.

We all apply all the parenting styles at different times in our lives! Isn’t that fascinating?

Reconciling differing parenting styles

Parenting children can become more difficult when parenting styles between partners clash. Having a vision for how you and your partner wish to raise your children in ALL areas of life (mental, vocational, familial, social, physical, spiritual, financial) is a great way to reconcile differing parent styles and come to an agreement. For example, if you and your partner want to raise the children to be financially wise, and you both are in disagreement over what car to buy for the eldest child (your partner wants to buy a brand-new car with all sorts of safety features, and you think that a safe second-hand is better), go back to the financial vision you both had for the children. Which of the two options will help the child grow into financial independence?

As a parent, I can say that while parenting is an absolute blessing, it is not without its challenges. But I know that working through these challenges and learning the lessons they teach is yet another opportunity to grow. As a person. As a life partner. As a parent.

This article, written by Ilze Alberts (Psychologist & Author of Passing the Torch) is published here with her permission.

Posted by Sinta Ebersohn, creator of (Stellenbosch – SA)